After some months of intense work on Early Access, Dead Age 2 was released on 12th March 2021. A turn-based rogue-like RPG game based on a world devastated by zombies where you have to survive against them and other survivors. With the essence of the first game and tons of new features, it presents itself as one of the important releases of the year.
Surviving the Apocalypse
After creating your character, you can choose the aspect of your avatar and the localization of the protagonist’s first three skill points, and a short tutorial, you will start at Jack’s camp, your group HQ. At the HQ, you can do several tasks: you can talk with your mates, upgrade the base installations, accept missions and create resources and equipment. Also, new characters will join you after complete their missions.
Aside from the HQ management, you can explore the area, every day you can explore it twice, in the day or at night, with a group of three characters (or less). The exploration is time-based, you can move around the map as you want (30 in-game minutes per move), from point to point, but after some manoeuvres, you will be forced to return to your base. Between points, random events can happen; you will meet merchants with bodyguards, civilians in danger or groups of enemies. You can try to haggle the merchant’s prices or threat them, with the possibility of provoking a fight with their bodyguards. In the case of the other survivors, if you rescue them, they will reward you.
During exploring, you can visit different locations: other groups HQ and outposts, places with supplies and special areas related to missions. In the case of the spots with resources, each one is divided into three sections. There you will get the items, but other events can occur too.
Battling against the undead
Battles are a core component of Dead Age 2. At the fight, you have two rows, front and back, if you want to hit with melee attacks, you have to be at the front, the same applies to the enemies, but you can change characters’ positions when you want. Ranged attacks and some skills can be done from both lines.
On every turn, you start with two Action Points (AP) to use. Normal actions consume one AP, like moving between rows or normal attacks. Skills usually require two or more points. You can spend or save them for the next turn, with a limit of four cumulative AP per turn.
If you develop determined skills, like engineering or hunt, you will be available to put traps, causing status ailments when the enemies touch them, or to summon extra allies, like mechanical turrets or animals. These will need special ammunition, obtainable with exploring or crafting. Also, you have to meet the animals before summoning them. For example, I met the dog in a story related event.
There is an enormous variety of foes in the Dead Age 2 world: zombies, scavengers, other groups’ members, animals and zombified animals. Even, when you advance through the story, you will meet improved versions of them. Some enemies are marked with a red skull, this means that they are veterans, they have better stats than the normal ones, but they will give you better rewards, and, of course, there are bosses and mid-bosses. Aside from normal attacks and skills, some opponents have passive skills, like immunity to some status ailments or attack your team when they move to the other row, among others.
Time to level up your team
In Dead Age 2, completing missions, killing enemies, getting protected resources or crafting items or rooms at the HQ, will reward your characters with experience. When you receive a certain quantity, you will level up, and you will obtain stats and skill points.
Stat points will be used to level your team statistics, you can improve characters’ life, melee and ranged damage, physical and special defence, and critical hits and blocking percentages. You can develop your team as you want, some allies will come with predefined points, but you can place the new ones where you want.
Skill points will be used to level your team talents. You can improve weapons proficiency, learning new weapon-related attacks, special abilities, as summoning animals or turrets, or useful traits for your HQ upgrades. These traits will activate new jobs for your characters, like crafting ammo or equipment, doing guard at nights, or obtaining more resources during a hunt or cultivating your garden.
Manage your HQ and your diplomacy
Your base is a core component of Dead Age 2. Here you will receive missions and will meet your allies. There are two daily cycles, day and night, and you start them at HQ. During these stages, you can explore the world with the protagonist and two members, but you will have allies that you will leave at HQ. To make them useful, you can assign them jobs, like crafting ammo or first aid kits or upgrading the facilities. After exploring during the day, or night, you will come back home, where you will have an opportunity to assign jobs to your crew. Also, you will recover part of the lost health during your journeys.
During your travels, you will meet other groups’ members, these groups are called factions, and each one has its leaders. You start the game with neutral relations with the three available factions, and you can improve or worse with them, depending on your actions. If you do some jobs for them, your relationship will improve, granting you more products and better prices on their stores and services, and missions on their bases. At some events, you will have choices, and they can influence your diplomacy (the game warns you), if you select the negative options, you will lose relation with the factions, and in the worst of cases, you will have to fight them at determined locations.
Graphics, Sound and Other features
Dead Age 2 graphics are very similar to the first title, they are OK, but they could be better. The soundtrack is great, the themes accompany you well, even they differ depending on the area where your team is. The characters’ avatars are in 2D, combat models are 3D, and they are animated. If a character dies, you will lose it (permadeath), even a funeral scene will trigger. When this happens, a replacement survivor joins you. The main difference between them is the new ones have not a story or personal missions, and they haven’t predefined skills points. And, of course, if the protagonist dies you will get game over.
When you die, you can start your next run with upgrades, using medals obtained by completing determined challenges. These upgrades will improve the protagonist in several ways, with better stats and more starting resources.
There are some minor bugs, especially on translations, they are not game-breaking, but they annoy the gaming experience. The game has achievements and cards (steam).
Overall: 9. Dead Age 2 is a very complete turn-based rogue-like RPG set in a post-apocalyptic world full of zombies. You have tons of options for surviving, you can customize your characters as you want, you will establish relationships with other human groups, and there are other interesting features to explore. Recommendable, especially if you like games with zombies.